Better late than never

8 March 2008

Heartfelt thanks to Joseph Kyle of Press Play, Record for this wonderful review of our most recent LP:

I must confess, for the record, that I neglected a really good band, New York’s jazz-pop orchestra The Sharp Things. Okay, so they’re not really jazz, they’re definitely pop, and they’re certainly an orchestra-sized collection of sharply dressed musicians. Their third album, A Moveable Feast, came out last fall, and I had a very lovely and insightful conversation with the well-respected Jim Santo. Unfortunately, due to the realities of cancer treatments and surgeries and recoveries, a lovely Sunday afternoon interview with The Sharp Things’ Jim Santo hasn’t seen the light of day. It’s a good interview, too, and I have the tape player at my desk to guiltily remind me of my neglected duties.

Enough about that—how does the record sound? Amazing. Their previous record, Foxes & Hounds, didn’t do anything for me, which was a disappointment given their excellent debut. But it took exactly two seconds of the second track, “Through With Love,” for me to realize that this new record was an amazing leap forward. This song is one of the best angry-at-love love songs I heard all year, and it’s helped by a grand orchestra accompaniment. It doesn’t hurt that lead singer Perry Serpa channels the spirit of vintage Richard Butler, either; this is the sort of song an aging Psychedelic Furs should be releasing. Sadly, they’re not. But someone is, so that’s all that matters, right?

Other highlights for me include the wonderful Motown-style arrangement on “Cruel Thing,” with Serpa becoming the blue-eyed soul singer some of us always expected him of being. Then there’s “Don’t Hold Out Hope,” a touching piano ballad that is made even more powerful by Serpa’s plaintive singing. “Driving In Manhattan In My Car” is another slow one, but it’s a very romantic song, and though I’ve never been, I can’t help but feel it captures the essence of Manhattan. The chorus of “I am home” makes it even sweeter.

The rest of the record has this beautiful, sitting-in-a-cafe-on-a-rainy-Sunday-afternoon vibe I like. In other words, we’re talking about a mellow, melancholy, but hopeful and relaxing style that makes me hate most other music not as good as this. If I were David Dye, I’d be euphoric and obsessive about promoting A Moveable Feast, because this is David Dye’s kind of music. And what I like about this record is it’s so…so…adult. This isn’t meant for “the kids” out there; as someone who is disillusioned about most “pop” music and “indie rock” in specific, it’s nice to hear a record that doesn’t pander to styles or genres or movements or those damn hipsters out there.

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